2020 Moto Trip - 1 Month Out

By: Kevin JohnsonJul 13, 2020

Oh hey there!  So if you’ve read my other post about our long motorcycle trip for 2020, you know we’re now right at one month away from leaving.  And I’ve done roughly zero things to start planning.  So this morning I found and booked our hotel for the first night.  It was also a nice reminder to myself that it’s going to be a long first day at about 400 miles AFTER working that morning.  I’m hoping we can be out of Denver around noon on August 12th, putting us into Burwell, NE somewhere between 6-7pm.  Again, it’s going to be a long ass day, but the following day (which too will be pretty long) we’ll be pulling into the Cologne, MN area where we’ll be staying a few nights, so it will be nice to put a good number of miles behind us early and then get to spend some time with friends and family.

Now that this trip is right around the corner and consuming the vast majority of my brain space I can’t help but think about the things that are going to be different this trip than in years past.  The biggest being how we’re going to have to navigate state by state regulations around Covid-19.  It’s already very obvious we’re going to need to bring masks everywhere and potentially make reservations for dinner depending on where we are…those aren’t necessarily big concerns, but if we’re supposed to quarantine for two weeks upon arriving in a state there is no way.  We’re going to have to find ways around that or just avoid that state all together.  I guess instead of thinking of these things as plain annoyances they could be better be classified as problems requiring solutions…?  Nope, just annoying.

This morning I was also tackling a problem I found myself having last year around finding good ear buds to fit under my helmet, and with the help of a few YouTubers I think I’m going to give the Shure SE215s a shot.  They appear to be low profile enough to not cause discomfort, have a long enough battery life, and are able to block the majority of the wind noise to where you don’t need to increase the volume to a level that hurts your ears or distorts the music.  Hopefully they work okay, but either way I’ll let everyone know my opinion after I order and give them a go.

Outside of finishing up getting all of our hotels booked I still have a good list of things to go over and get ready.  The most important being the motorcycle:

  • New rear tire
  • Oil change
  • Check battery
  • Clear service code on computer
  • Run diagnostics check
  • Double check on board “toolbox”
  • Brakes

…and maybe give the old girl a bath.  So long as your horse is in good shape and gets to “drink first” you can all but guarantee a good time.

Then I just need to worry about packing.  From what I’ve learned in years past combined with the new world we’re living in I’m definitely going to alter the things that get brought along.  Given that this trip is in August, typically the hottest month of the year in the continental US, I purchased the Klim Mojave pants which breathe a lot better than the Dakar pants I typically ride in.  The only problem I can think about with these is if it rains on me then I’ll need to quickly cover up with my rain gear vs being able to keep on going and not really being bothered.  Honestly not a problem and assuming I do a good job checking the weather I can keep the rain pants at the top of my saddle bags if the forecast calls for storms.

I need to also make room for masks.  I think I should have plenty of room in my tank bag since I highly doubt I’m going to bring my cold weather gloves (this will probably bite me in the ass), so again, not a problem but an important thing to remember.  And since we’ll need to make plenty of stops for gas I’m going to carry a lot fewer snacks and instead spend a little more over the course of the trip buying things when I’m hungry vs the bulk purchase before the trip and carrying everything the entire time.  I still plan on carrying quite a bit of water given how hot it will be and that came in handy last year so that’s one piece that will not be changing, but I think I’ll be looking into another insulated water bottle so that I don’t have to hammer down hot water when I’m thirsty.

I keep debating bringing my work laptop too, just in case we get stranded somewhere and I need to work from Michigan or something.  It’s not very heavy or large, but still that’s one extra “big” item that I would have to worry about which prefer not to fret over.  It’ll probably end up getting packed but will be a game time decision most likely heavily depending on if I have the space or not.

Short of those changes I think everything will be the same.  I am going to need to buy a few extra pairs of socks and skivvies due to more days on the road but those don’t take up much space so I overall I feel like I shouldn’t run into any luggage capacity problems.  Plus I’m taking a page out of Old Al’s book and will be practicing the diminishing underwear trick.

As the days to departure come closer we’ll be posting a lot more regarding the trip, and during the trip you can get live action, real-time updates on my Twitter (and some Instagram), so be sure to follow along there as well!

Kevin Johnson
Kevin was destined to ride motorcycles from a young age since bikes are a family pastime.  Only recently did Kevin become an internet motorcycle influencer and change the lives of no one while blogging about his exploits, both on and off the road.  He is currently (and constantly) thinking about the next places two wheels might take him, much to the dismay of his wife, so stay tuned for what's to come!